in·​dulge | \ in-ˈdəlj How to pronounce indulge (audio) \
indulged; indulging

Essential Meaning of indulge

1 : to allow (yourself) to have or do something as a special pleasure It's my birthday. I'm going to indulge myself and eat whatever I want to eat. It's my birthday. I'm going to indulge.
2 : to allow (someone) to have or do something even though it may not be proper, healthy, appropriate, etc. He knows that his aunt is always willing to indulge [=spoil] him. They always indulged their grandchildren's whims. [=they always allowed their grandchildren to do whatever they wanted to do]
3 : to patiently allow (someone) to do or say something Please indulge me while I review the topics we covered yesterday.

Full Definition of indulge

transitive verb

1a : to yield to the desire of : humor please indulge me for a moment
b : to treat with excessive leniency, generosity, or consideration
2a : to give free rein to
b : to take unrestrained pleasure in : gratify

intransitive verb

: to indulge oneself

Other Words from indulge

indulger noun

Synonyms for indulge


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Choose the Right Synonym for indulge

indulge, pamper, humor, spoil, baby, mollycoddle mean to show undue favor to a person's desires and feelings. indulge implies excessive compliance and weakness in gratifying another's or one's own desires. indulged myself with food at the slightest excuse pamper implies inordinate gratification of desire for luxury and comfort with consequent enervating effect. pampered by the amenities of modern living humor stresses a yielding to a person's moods or whims. humored him by letting him tell the story spoil stresses the injurious effects on character by indulging or pampering. foolish parents spoil their children baby suggests excessive care, attention, or solicitude. babying students by grading too easily mollycoddle suggests an excessive degree of care and attention to another's health or welfare. refused to mollycoddle her malingering son

Examples of indulge in a Sentence

It's my birthday. I'm going to indulge myself and eat whatever I want to eat. It's my birthday. I'm going to indulge. Please indulge me while I review the topics we covered yesterday. The museum is an excellent place to let children indulge their curiosity about dinosaurs. She bought a house with a big yard so that she could indulge her passion for gardening.
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Recent Examples on the Web Britney Spears is celebrating her ability to indulge in some leisure activities, including drinking her first glass of red wine in 13 years. Heran Mamo, Billboard, 5 Jan. 2022 There’s no evidence that dolphins or coyotes or elephants indulge in it. New York Times, 27 Dec. 2021 This bean-to-bar artisan chocolate shop offers its customers the opportunity to indulge in its products in a novel way: at its mousse bar. Leslie Kelly, Forbes, 26 Dec. 2021 Eclipses can also affect our bedroom activities, and there are four in 2022 — two solar eclipses (on April 30 and October 25) and two lunar eclipses (on May 16 and November 8), all great times to indulge in passions. Lisa Stardust,, 22 Dec. 2021 What boxing promises spectators is the chance to indulge their appetite for violence without offending their self-image as good people. Jacob Stern, The Atlantic, 18 Nov. 2021 Even the Cooper City mascot Pistol Pete got a chance to indulge in the revelry as the Cowboys football team did its part to make Homecoming Week a success by defending the home turf and defeating the South Plantation Paladins 20-14. Emmett Hall,, 4 Nov. 2021 From an extra few hours of sleep to mouthwatering comfort food, Thanksgiving is an invitation to indulge. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 25 Oct. 2021 But instead of the typical meet-and-greet, this one is the chance to indulge in a prix fixe tasting menu together at the hotel's MO Lounge (overlooking Central Park and the Manhattan skyline). Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 18 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'indulge.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of indulge

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

History and Etymology for indulge

Latin indulgēre to be complaisant

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Time Traveler for indulge

Time Traveler

The first known use of indulge was circa 1623

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Dictionary Entries Near indulge

in due time


indulge in

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Statistics for indulge

Last Updated

10 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Indulge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for indulge


in·​dulge | \ in-ˈdəlj How to pronounce indulge (audio) \
indulged; indulging

Kids Definition of indulge

1 : to give in to the desires of Grandparents often indulge their grandchildren.
2 : to give in to a desire for something For my birthday, I indulged in a day off.

More from Merriam-Webster on indulge

Nglish: Translation of indulge for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of indulge for Arabic Speakers


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